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The 5 Vital Components of Teamwork and Cooperation

From the military to the world of business to the insanity that is politics, teamwork and cooperation are essential to success. No one, no matter how talented, gets to the top entirely on their own, and top performers are quick to point out the advantages they enjoyed along the way and the influence mentors have had in their lives.

In the business world, you cannot overstate the importance of teamwork and cooperation. Without cooperation and a sense of community, virtually nothing of consequence can happen.

Fostering a corporate culture that values teamwork and cooperation is easier said than done, but understanding the vital components of collaboration is an excellent place to start. Here are the five essential elements of teamwork and cooperation, and how you can begin to use them in your own business.

1. Trust
It is impossible to build a cohesive team if the individual team members do not trust one another. Without trust, there can be no cooperation, so fostering that faith is the first step toward building solid teams, and it is perhaps the most vital of the five components of teamwork and collaboration.

There is no one way to foster trust and cooperation, and there is no silver bullet that will work for everyone. The methods used to build confidence in a startup will be much different than those needed to rebuild trust in an older firm with a history of poor management and miscommunication.

Building trust can be hard, but it is a vital first step. Until your team members can trust one another, nothing else you do is likely to be effective.

2. Communication
Communication is another vital pillar of teamwork and cooperation, and another thing that can be difficult to foster. Keeping the lines of communication open requires the buy-in of everyone in the company, from the executives in the corner offices to the customer service reps answering the phones.

Executives can set the tone for an open and communicative workforce by maintaining an open-door policy. This strategy breaks down the walls between those in charge and the workers on the floor, but it only works if the executives are committed to the policy. Once those walls break down, you will see a positive change in your team, and you can move forward toward a better and more supportive workplace.

3. The Freedom to Be Creative
You never know when creativity will strike, or what form it will take. That is why giving workers the freedom to innovate and be creative is so important. There is a reason creativity is a central pillar of teamwork and cooperation.

Some people are more naturally creative than others, but everyone has some level of creativity. Unfortunately, many workers feel stifled in their creativity, afraid to try new things and risk failure. Giving your employees the freedom to be creative, and even the freedom to fail, can unlock their talents and help you build a cohesive and talented team.

4. Adaptability
The only thing sure in life is change, and that makes adaptability a vital skill. The ability to adapt to changing circumstances and take on new challenges is also an essential component of teamwork and cooperation, and this talent is more critical than ever.

The business world is moving so fast that many old-line businesses are finding themselves left behind. If those firms had successfully fostered adaptability in their management teams, they might have survived the onslaught.

5. Diversification of Talents
Everyone is great at something, but no one is great at everything. Recognising that truth is a vital stepping stone toward building a cooperative corporate culture, one where every member of the team works to the best of their abilities and all of their capabilities combine into one cohesive whole.

Even the smallest of companies contains a vast store of experience and a wide range of competencies. Teamwork and cooperation are all about harnessing those talents.

There are many ways to utilise the talents that already exist in your company. Scanning resumes, either electronically or by hand, is a great way to uncover skills of which you may not have been aware. Breaking workers up into teams and having them work through complex problems can also bring these hidden talents to light. No matter how you do it, making use of the diversification of abilities in your workforce is a great way to foster teamwork and reward cooperation.

Building a stable and cohesive team has never been more critical, or more challenging to do. Whether you are running a brand new startup or trying to turn around a business that has fallen behind, understanding the challenges of team building and cooperation can give you a competitive edge and help you succeed.